A Help­ing Hand To Haiti With Clean Wa­ter Project

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Sher­brooke

There­sults of a stu­dent project in the ma­chin­ing and weld­ing classes at the Len­noxville Vo­ca­tional Train­ing Cen­tre (LVTC), will have a di­rect im­pact

on clean drink­ing wa­ter in Haiti. The year­long project, led by LVTC teacher Shayne Mackey, has pro­duced molds that will be used to make biosand fil­ters that turn ‘brown’ sur­face wa­ter into clean drink­ing wa­ter.

In 2011, Mr. Mackey was ready to make a do­na­tion to the Clean Wa­ter for Haiti project. In re­view­ing how their biosand fil­ters were pro­duced he saw not only an op­por­tu­nity to give more than a mone­tary do­na­tion but a way to in­volve his students in a work project that would give back. By hav­ing the students make the molds for the bio sand fil­ters they would be work­ing on the var­i­ous com­pe­ten­cies nec­es­sary for learn­ing their trade as well as a pow­er­ful les­son in so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity. Bring­ing life lessons into the weld­ing shop was a new twist that was eagerly en­dorsed by Mr. Mackey’s col­leagues as well as the students.

“When I spoke with my fel­low teach­ers here at the cen­tre about the project and started ex­plain­ing that over 3.5 mil­lion peo­ple die each year from wa­ter re­lated dis­ease, with most of them be­ing chil­dren un­der the age of five, the re­sponse was, how can we help” stated Mr. Mackey. “Haiti is the num­ber one wa­ter im­pov­er­ished coun­try in the world, with the high­est in­fant mor­tal­ity rate in the world. I knew we had the skills here to build the molds to make the biosand fil­ters and now I knew we had the peo­ple on board to make it hap­pen. The goal was to pro­duce 10 molds and in the end we have 20 ready to send to Haiti.”

The weld­ing and ma­chin­ing students now met the chal­lenge of hon­ing the com­pe­ten­cies nec­es­sary for build­ing the molds with the added goal of their fi­nal class projects of­fer­ing a sec­ond chance to chil­dren and fam­i­lies in Haiti. “We usu­ally work on projects to make tools for our own trade and shop. It was re­ally re­ward­ing to work on some­thing that we knew was go­ing to change thou­sands of peo­ple’s lives, for the bet­ter,” com­mented Charles Gau­thier, a stu­dent at the cen­tre who was in­volved in the project.

The last step is to send the molds to Haiti, where they can be used to start mak­ing the fil­ters and sav­ing lives. In dis­cus­sions with the driv­ing school, the

Mr. Mackey has been able to se­cure trans- por­ta­tion from Len­noxville to the port of Montreal. “I would like to per­son­ally thank Alain Piché, An­nie Gau­thier and René Labrie, for their gen­eros­ity and en­abling us to get the molds to the port. The last hur­dle was rais­ing the funds needed for the ship­ping costs from Montreal to Haiti and our cen­tre has of­fered to cover it”, ex­pressed Mr. Mackey.

The cen­tre, which is part of the Eastern Town­ships School Board, of­fers nine ac­cred­ited pro­grams lead­ing to a Diploma of Vo­ca­tional Stud­ies, in­clud­ing: Ma­chin­ing Tech­niques, Weld­ing and Fit­ting, Ac­count­ing, Sec­re­tar­ial Stud­ies, Health As­sis­tance and Nurs­ing, As­sis­tance to Pa­tients in Health Fa­cil­i­ties, Home Care As­sis­tance, Pro­fes­sional Sales, and Rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Students at the Len­noxville Vo­ca­tional Train­ing Cen­tre ben­e­fit from highly qual­i­fied bilin­gual teach­ers. The re­cently ren­o­vated cen­tre boasts mod­ern equip­ment and a cor­dial fam­ily at­mos­phere

Students in the LVTC ma­chin­ing and weld­ing classes have pro­duced molds to make biosand fil­ters to pu­rify wa­ter, get­ting a les­son in so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity at the same time. The molds will be sent to Haiti.

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